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Chance Alignment Between Galaxies Mimics a Cosmic Collision
by Staff Writers
Baltimore MD (SPX) Jun 22, 2012

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced an incredibly detailed image of a pair of overlapping galaxies called NGC 3314. While the two galaxies look as if they are in the midst of a collision, this is in fact a trick of perspective: the two are in chance alignment from our vantage point. Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and W. Keel (University of Alabama). For a larger version of this image please go here.

Because of the alignment, NGC 3314B's dust lanes appear lighter than those of NGC 3314A. This is not because that galaxy lacks dust, but rather because its dust lanes are lightened by the bright fog of stars in the foreground. NGC 3314A's dust, in contrast, is backlit by the stars of NGC 3314B, silhouetting them against the bright background.

The color composite was produced from exposures taken in blue and red light with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. The pair of galaxies lie roughly 140 million light-years from Earth, in the direction of the southern hemisphere constellation Hydra.

NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and W. Keel (University of Alabama)


Related Links
Hubble at ESA
Hubble at NASA
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It

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